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Gin Tama – Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 25, 2010 by  



Hilarious, crazy, odd and action-packed!  The popular Shonen Jump manga and anime series “Gin Tama”  receives its first release in the US!  Definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © Hideaki Sorachi/Shuisha-TV Tokyo-Dentsu-Sunrise. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Gin Tama – Collection 1

DURATION: 13 Episodes (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Japanese 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks/Section23 Films

RATED: Rated TV 14 VSL

Release Date: April 27, 2010

Originally created by Hideaki Sorachi

Series Directed by Shiji Takamatsu

Series Composition – Akatsuki Yamatoya

Script by Akatsuki Yamatoya, Michiko Yokote, Taketo Shimoyama

Music by Audio Highs

Character Design by Shinji Takeuchi

Art Director: Yuki Nomura

Anime Production by Sunrise

Featuring the following voice talent:

Daisuke Sakaguchi as Shimura Shinpachi

Rie Kugimiya as Kagura

Tomokazu Sugita as Sakata Gintoki

Akira Ishida as Katsura Kotarou

Kazuya Nakai as Hijikata Toushirou

Kenichi Suzumura as Okita Sougo

Kenta Miyake as Harada

Kujira as Otose

Mikako Takahashi as Sadaharu

Satsuki Yukino as Otae

Susumu Chiba as Kondou Isao

Tetsuharu Ohta as Yamazaki

Yuu Sugimoto as Catherine

Life isn’t easy in feudal Japan… especially since the aliens landed and conquered everything! Oh sure, the new health care is great, but the public ban on the use of swords has left a lot of defeated samurai with a difficult career choice! This is especially true if they’re not particularly inclined towards holding a day job, which is why Gintoki Sakata’s opted for the freelance route, taking any job that’s offered to him as long as the money’s right.

Unfortunately, in a brave new world filled with stray bug-eyed montsters, upwardly mobile Yakuza, and overly ambitious E.T. entrepreneurs, those jobs usually don’t pay as well as they should for the pain, suffering, and indignities endured!

Since 2003, “Gin Tama” (which means “Silver Soul” has been a manga series that has entertained many “Shonen Jump” fans.  Written and illustrated by mangaka Hideaki Sorachi, the popular manga received an anime adaptation and has aired in Japan since 2006 on TV Tokyo and has since surpassed over a 100 episodes.  The anime series now makes its debut in the US on DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks with the first 13 episodes in “Gintama – Collection 1”.

The series is directed by Shinji Takamatsu (“After War Gundam”, “School Rumble” series, “SD Gundam”), series composition by Akatsuki Yamatoya (“Buso Renkin”, “Blue Dragon”, Soul Eater”, “Transformers: Cybertron”), character designs by Shinji Takeuchi (“Geneshaft”, “Heat Guy J”, “Planetes”) and music by Audio HIGHS.

“Gin Tama” is a series that takes place during the Edo Period (Tokyo – 1860’s) but in this alternate reality of the Edo Period, aliens known as Amanto have conquered Japan and because of the war against the samurai’s, the Amanto have banned swords in public and are now co-existing with the humans (more like humans are forced to co-exist with the Amanto).   Also, technology has been shared with the people of Japan allowing space travel, giving them access to cars, mopeds, television and more.

The series focuses on the silver haired Gintoki Sakata and his two freelancers who will perform odd jobs for a fee, but sometimes these odd jobs turn out to be more destructive than realized.

The main characters of “Gin Tama” are:

  • Gintoki Sakata – The owner of “Odd Jobs Gin”.  Often lazy, likes reading manga, picking his nose and is late on his rent payments.  Willing to take on odd jobs for a living but is also an excellent swordsman who despises the Amanto and those who co-exist with them.  Despite the sword ban, Gintoki is defiant towards the Amanto and carries a sword.
  • Shinpachi Shimura – A teenager who wants to learn the ways of the samurai and thus becomes a freelancer at Odd Jobs Gin.  Often the voice of reason but is hardly listened to and is often a person who receives some sort of punishment.  Lives with his sister Tae.
  • Kagura – An alien girl of the Yato Clan who looks human but has tremendous strength.  Kagura flee to Earth to earn money but also to get away from her violent Yato heritage.  In Earth, she has to hold an umbrella to prevent sunlight from damaging her translucent skin.  Loves pickled seaweed, eating, money and often has a temper.  She also is blunt about things that women don’t say in public.

Other characters in the series include:

  • Sadaharu – Kagura’s pet, a large dog looking inugami.  Loves to bite people and Kagura loves it because she takes his wanting to eat her as a form of playfulness.  Often used as Kagura’s vehicle.
  • Otose – Owns Otose Snack House and the landlord for Gintoki.  Loves smoking and doesn’t appear to be offended when Gintoki refers to her as an old hag.
  • Catherine – The feline female thief who works at Otose Snack House and at first, she seemed like a nice woman but in reality she’s a trash talking person who can easily get into trouble.
  • Ayame Sarutobi (Sachan) – An elite ninja who loves Gin.  Only problem is that she’s nearly blind without her eyeglasses.
  • Isao Kondo – Commander of the Shinsengumi.  A confident leader who has a low self-esteem when it comes to his rear end sprouting like an afro.  Infatuated with Shinpachi’s sister Tae.
  • Toshiro Hijikata – The vice-commander of the Shinsengumi and loyal to Kondo.  An excellent fighter.
  • Sogo Okita – The best swordsman of the Shinsengumi but prefers to carry a bazooka.  He appears to not like his vice-commander.

Here is a brief spoilerless summary of episodes 1-13 for “Gin Tama – Collection 1” included on two DVD’s:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – How Shinpachi becamea  freelancer for “Odd Jobs Gin”.  The characters talk about how they can earn more money.
  • EPISODE 2 – Continuing the odd job from the last episode and introducing the Shinsengumi, the police of the area.
  • EPISODE 3 – Gin trains Shinpachi in the ways of the samurai.   Introduction to Shinpachi’s sister Tae.
  • EPISODE 4 – How Kagura became a freelancer for “Odd Jobs Gin”.
  • EPISODE 5 – Odd Jobs Gin takes on a mission to deliver a package for an injured postman.  Gintoki confronts the Shinsengumi.
  • EPISODE 6 – Gintoki helps out the father of a pop star who wants to see his daughter.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – The group is given a mission to find the alien prince’s octopus pet.
  • EPISODE 8 – An episode focusing on the Shinsengumi and commander Isao Kondo’s infatuation with Shinpachi’s sister Tae.
  • EPISODE 9 – After Kondo’s humiliation, Shinsengumi’s Toshiro Hijikata has his men going after the silver haired man who beat their commander.
  • EPISODE 10 – An introduction to how Kagura found her pet, an inugami named Sadaharu.
  • EPISODE 11 – The group is offered an odd job to find a dying man’s first love.
  • EPISODE 12 – An introduction to how the group met Catherine the thief.
  • EPISODE 13 – The group is offered an odd job to find a missing woman.

VIDEO:

“Gin Tama” is presented in 4:3.  Because the series is a comedy, character designs range from being detailed to being simple, depending on the scene.  But there is a good amount of detail on the backgrounds but if anything, the anime series is respectful towards the illustration and artwork of creator Hideaki Sorachi.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for “Gin Tama” is in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0.  Voice acting is well-done and for the most part, the audio is clear and what would expect from a TV series.  For a more immersive soundscape, I chose to have my receiver set with stereo on all channels.  But overall, the 2.0 track is good.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Gin Tama – Collection 1” features trailers for upcoming Sentai Filmworks releases on disc 1 and on disc 2 are the clean opening and closing animation.

“Gin Tama” is a hilarious anime and I have to say that it is quite unique and breathes new life to action/humor-based anime series that are featured on “Shonen Jump” such as “Bleach” and “Naruto”.

The fact that “Gin Tama” takes place during the Edo Period and humanity was beaten by aliens and now co-existing with them and sharing technology is quite unique.  But it’s the characters that bring something different to the series.  Unlike other “Shonen Jump” heroes, the characters of “Gin Tama” are just odd.  The main protagonist, Gintoki is a booger picking, manga reading, lazy hero but when in battle, he’s quick during his sword fights.  Kagura seems like a sweet girl but she’s perverted (although her bluntness is more of naivety) in the manner she speaks and has this intense strength that makes her quite scary and then you get the character Shinpachi who tries to be the voice of reason but ends up being the person who gets the raw end of the deal.

But what can you expect when you have an anime series titled “Gin Tama” which is an interesting name by Hideaki Sorachi which is used as a pun on the word “Kintama” which means testicles.  “Gin Tama” is pretty much a comedy series as we see these odd people being lazy or on missions.  There are jokes that parody Japanese pop culture and even several nods to other Shonen Jump titles in the series.  But along with the comedy, there are episodes that have quite a bit of action scenes as Gintoki encounters quite a bit of alien enemies.

If anything, “Gin Tama” is a fun, hilarious and action-packed series but it’s one of those series that is going to require your patience as there are over a hundred episodes in Japan.  This first collection only contains the first 13 episodes and the fact the series is not yet completed in Japan, similar to other “Shonen Jump” series such as “Naruto” and “Bleach”, this is a series that you want to make sure you are in it for the long run.

Overall, “Gin Tama” is a series that is unique and a lot of fun to watch. I definitely look forward to the next collection.  Definitely recommended!

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